Never been to a SeriousFun camp or program? Fear not. Here are four things to consider before you, your family, or your child packs your bags. Disclaimer: Once you experience what SeriousFun is all about, you probably won’t want to leave…
This article is meant to inform readers, generally, about SeriousFun camps and programs. For information on how to prepare for your child's camp session, or specific questions about your SeriousFun camp's operations, please directly contact a staff member at the SeriousFun camp your child is attending.
Staffed by Medical Experts
As the leading Network of medical specialty camps in the world, SeriousFun camps are staffed by medical experts from esteemed hospital and universities. Each camp's medical program is overseen by a Medical and Nursing Director who are supported by a variety of medical staff and volunteers, including physicians, nurses, and other specialists.
This team of experts are on-site at every session. While they may sport t-shirts and tie-dye instead of white coats, they work directly with parents and caregivers prior to camp, on camper arrival day, and everyday to ensure campers are safe and happy.
Camp is often a unique opportunity for doctors to engage with patients outside of the hospital. "Seeing my patients at camp doing the ropes course and swimming and being silly really changed how I look at the children, how I interact with them," said Dr. Jerry Boyle, a volunteer and Board member at Flying Horse Farms, the SeriousFun camp in Ohio. "I am silly with them when they’re in the hospital now. One of our longtime patients asked me to color my hair. I did—I colored it purple. Would I have done that in the past? Probably not. I think camp has put the child back into 'children with congenital heart disease' for me, and in many ways has put the child back in me."
Comprehensive Staff & Volunteer Training
To ensure a safe and positive experience for every camper and family, SeriousFun camps prepare and execute focused training sessions for all staff and volunteers. These sessions prepare staff and volunteers to provide high-quality care to campers so the kids can focus on the fun.
Training topics vary based on the camp session, the needs of the campers, and the camp location. They may include, but are not limited to, medical care, camper care, intentional programming, equity and inclusion, and behavioral support.
All program staff and volunteers gear up in the weeks and months prior to your camper’s arrival. They're excited to meet your camper—and well prepared to support them on the exciting adventures that await.
Fully-Accessible Facilities & Programs
SeriousFun camps are intentionally designed to be inclusive of all campers. And when we say “designed” we mean literally, from the ground up. Whether it’s purpose-built facilities—like wheel-chair accessible zip lines, zero-entry pools, adaptive boat launches, and ADA-compliant treehouses—or inclusive programming, every detail is thought out so that no camper has to give accessibility a second thought.
Programmatic accessibility lays the foundation for community-building. Camp dances are choreographed with different movements to suit every camper’s level of mobility. S’mores recipes are adapted to meet all dietary restrictions and needs. Cabin chats are set-up to create safe spaces for sharing and friendship. SeriousFun camps consistently strive to develop more and more ways to meet campers where they are, and to give them an unforgettable experience.
Such intentional programming means your camper is free to dream big, make new friends, and find a community of support—all with kids and families who know what’s it’s like to live with a serious illness and aren't afraid of some good, old-fashioned fun.
Focused on Fostering Growth & Support
Camp provides ample opportunity to try new activities—ones your camper may never have imagined possible. During their session, campers will have the opportunity to safely step outside their comfort zone through activities or interactions into what we call the “stretch zone.” This is all part of the “challenge by choice” ethos embraced by SeriousFun camps.
The “stretch zone” allows campers the opportunity to work with staff, volunteers, and peers to approach new challenges while maintaining physical and emotional safety. In this way, SeriousFun camps foster growth, confidence, and independence within a safe, nurturing environment.
In a study conducted by the Yale University Child Study Center, 79% of parents reported their child was more open to trying new things six months after camp. Be prepared for your camper to come home with stories about “firsts”—first fish, fist canoe ride, first stage night, and many more!